The Merdeka University- “to expect iron tree to produce flowers” ?

Speech by DAP Organising Secretary and Parliamentary Candidate for Bandar Melaka at the fourth Malacca DAP elections rally at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock on 16th April 1969 at 8.30p.m.

Lim Kit Siang challenge Tun Tan Siew Sin to put it to a best whether Merdeka University is trying to get iron trees to produce flowers, or it is a case where with the united will of the people, even water can be squeezed out of stones, by registering the Merdeka University.

Tun Tan Siew Sin and the MCA’s opposition to the Merdeka University is best summed up by Tun Tan Siew Sin’s latest wrote on the subject, when he said:

“ The Merdeka University is a useless dream, and to expect the Merdeka University to succeed in the present circumstances of the nation is tantamount to expecting a iron tree to produce flowers.”

It has become clear that Tun Tan Siew Sin has been selected by the UMNO racialists to be the destroyer of the Merdeka University.

This was why although people from all walks of life have responded warmly to the call for the establishment of the Merdeka University, and are prepared to make sacrifices to set up an educational institution to safeguard the Chinese language and culture and help in the training of qualified manpower for the modernisation of Malaysia, Tun Tan Siew Sin remains adamantly opposed to the Merdeka University project.

In December last year, Tun Tan Siew Sin threatened to expel any MCA member or official who had the conscience to help in the formation of the Merdeka University.

Last month, Tun Tan Siew Sin instructed his Political Secretary, Mr. Bernard Lu, famed for his eagerness in June last year in wanting to see the 13 youths, convicted for consorting with Indonesian confrontationists, to be hanged at the gallows, to announce that the government will never register the application of the Merdeka University.

Two days ago, Tun Tan Siew Sin poured contempt on the efforts of hawkers, workers, hairdressers, teachers, trishaw riders, fishermen, and others, who had come forward to donation sell, work ,hair do, ride, fish for the Merdeka University, and declared that without the help of millionaires like Tun Tan Siew Sin, the Merdeka University will never succeed.

Yesterday, Tun Tan said that the Merdeka University is doomed to failure because it is like expecting iron trees to produce flowers.

Why is Tun Tan Siew Sin so convinced that the Merdeka University is doomed to failure, when warm-hearted and conscientious Malaysians of all walks of life from all corners of Malaysia have risen up in response to the Merdeka University?

There can only be one explanation. Tun Tan Siew Sin want personally to thwart the whishes of the people to have a Merdeka University.
But I am convinced that no single man, whether he is Tun Tan Siew Sin, or a thousand Tun Tan Siew Sins, can thwart the wishes of the people to have a Merdeka University, if the people are united and firm in their resolve to have a Merdeka University.

Nor can one Tun Tan Siew Sin or a Thousand Tun Tan Siew Sins ever destroy 4,000 years of Chinese language, education and culture, for when the Tun Tan Siew Sins have come and gone, from dust returned to dust, the 4,000 years of Chinese language and civilisation will flourish on.

Tun Tan Siew Sin said the Merdeka University is a ‘useless dream.’ Let me tell Tun Tan Siew Sin that from the beginning of human civilasation, all great achievements started as a dream.

Once human beings ceased to dream great things, and only to concern themselves with material comfort, money and material wants, as is the pre-occupation of all MCA leaders, then human progress stops and human civilization crumbles. It is the capacity for human beings to dream which distinguishes them from animals.

Tonight, it is fitting that we are having a public rally at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, a road named in memory of a great Malaysian, capable of great dreams.

Fifteen years ago, Tun Tan Cheng Lock shared in the dream to build a Nanyang University. There were people of course, the early-day Tun Tan Siew Sin who condemned the Nanyang University as a ‘useless dream.’

But Tun Tan Cheng Lock, and all Malaysians who have the welfare of Chinese education, language and culture at heart, from all walks of life, whether hawkers, hairdresser , fishermen, workers, trishaw riders, all joined in a collective effort to make Nanyang University one of the foremost university in this part of the world today.

Tonight, I pay tribute to Tun Tan Cheng Lock for his work on behalf of Chinese language, education and culture in the context of Malaysian life, and I have absolutely no doubt that if Tun Tan Cheng Lock is alive today, he would be the first to support the Merdeka University, and condemned Tun Tan Siew Sin as ‘a most unworthy son.’

Tun Tan Siew Sin declared that without the help of millionaires and the government, the Merdeka University will fail, as it is like trying to produce flowers from iron trees.

But I am convinced that with the people’s collective unity, even without the help of millionaires like Tun Tan Siew Sin, the Merdeka University will succeed, because with people’s sincerity and unity, even stones and gold will open.

I challenge Tun Tan Siew Sin to put it to a test, whether the Merdeka University is ‘iron trees producing flowers’ or ‘people’s unity will open stone and gold’, by registering the Merdeka University’s application.

I am convinced that if Tun Tan Siew Sin and the Alliance government have the courage to put the Merdeka University completely in the hands of the people to decide, the Merdeka University will succeed – because everyone now knows that the Merdeka University represents the last stand and fight prevent the elimination of Chinese language, education and culture in Malaysia.